Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bill Gross and the US National Debt

William Gross, one of the richest and best known American stamp collectors and a major named donor to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, wrote a very important OP-ED piece in the Washington Post three days ago.  His concluding paragraphs:

It is not the debt, however, but the lack of global aggregate demand that is at the heart of the crisis. As the entire world strives to put its own people to work before other nations do, policymakers constructively lower interest rates and delay sovereign, corporate and household defaults to provide breathing room. Fiscally, however, an anti-Keynesian, budget-balancing immediacy imparts a constrictive noose around whatever demand remains alive and kicking. Washington hassles over debt ceilings instead of job creation in the mistaken belief that a balanced budget will produce a balanced economy. It will not.

The president and Congress must recognize that an AA-plus country, to remain AA-plus, must focus on growth, not debt reduction, in the short term. We have a debt problem — but primarily a crisis of aggregate demand. A 21st-century Keynes would have recognized this and sounded the alarm, pointing out that policymakers from a fiscal perspective are pointing us toward recession and the destructive 1930s instead of a low-growth but still breathing U.S. economy of the 21st century.

The head of the world's largest bond fund puts the debt in its proper place.  All of our lawmakers should read his piece in the Washington Post.

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